Thursday, December 22, 2011

Whither Festivus: Instant Pleasure 2011 Recap - Saturday

I've lost quite a lot this year, y'all. Over the past few months I've somehow managed to lose a couple notebooks full of notes (which, happily, I eventually found), a camera (which, unhappily, was never found), and my mind (on more than one occasion). Having finally found the notebook wherein my notes on Instant Pleasure were ensconced, we can now talk about that amazingly exceptional heck of a ride that was the first installment of Instant Pleasure. And o, what a pleasure it was, my little treasures.

As a reminder, Instant Pleasure was the kismet-ic, right time right place festival of (mostly) psych rock as envisioned by two of my absolute favorite Richmond squires - Ryan of the killer Revolt Of The Apes blog and Kyle of The Diamond Center. Having played this year's Austin Psych Fest, Kyle wanted to bring some of that back to Richmond to germinate a little in the River City. Originally envisioned as a one-day affair, the fest expanded into two days of the best, brightest, and noisiest psychedelic blues space rock bands in and around Richmond (and from half the world away as well). Yours truly was around for most of Day 2, and what I experienced was pretty fucking fantastic.

Unfortunately, I didn't make it down early enough to catch Palindrone, Mutwawa, or Ceremony, which made me plenty sad. But the six bands I did see (can't beat six hours of good live music) all blew me away something powerful. PBRs in hand, I took in a jaw-dropping set of scuzzy, sexy as hell blues psych from Baltimore's incredible dudes The Flying Eyes. Friends, I was just not at all prepared for what they were going to do to me. I glazed over amid a barrage of sweet, sweet sweaty noise, and I loved every minute. I had just caught my breath when Richmond legend of sorts Gull took the stage. His Hannibal Lecter meets the Beadazzler mask threw me, but my oh my did I dig his set. I'd never actually seen Gull indoors before, and the roof barely kept a lid on the insanity of his one-man guitar and drums onslaught.

Next came the lovely noise of The Sky Drops, and the Delaware duo fried my brain with their beautiful shades of smeared psych nouveau gazing. They were powerful yet gentle, somehow, and their set was entirely too short (or sure did feel that way) for my liking. Foxy Belgian duo Black Box Revelation set the stage on fire with their blues rock posturing, and I was well and truly into their howling and prancing and explosions. Belgians can throw it down, y'all. The festival kept it international with Australia's Morning After Girls going next, showing off some fancy Italian footwear and equally impressive stripey trousers. The music, too, was great, lots of noisy guitars and possessed of an overall ability to make me feel so warm and squishy inside. There was a hint of the 60s about them as well, which you know always goes down a treat with yours truly. The evening closed out with a stunning (as always) set by The Diamond Center. They were gloriously and expansively and expressively haunting and haunted in equal measure, and I enjoyed the slight change in their sound as they adjusted to life sans bass. A very, very wonderful way to end the festival indeed.

Overall, I was really pleased with my Instant Pleasure experience. The bands were excellent, the venue (Strange Matter, the perfect spot for the fest) was full of appreciative persons, and the mix between bands was full of goodies (thanks Ryan). It is my hope that Instant Pleasure becomes a regular thing, because based on what transpired this time that would be seven shades of spectacular.

mp3: Swimming With Fishes (The Sky Drops from Bourgeios Beat)

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